My memories of seeing The Blair Witch Project in theaters are vivid – after launching one of the first viral campaigns to utilize the Internet to perpetuate a false mythology that felt real, the modern papa of the shaky-cam found-footage way of storytelling exploded on to the screen. And by “exploded,” I mean that it gave me a huge headache and provided a couple moments of genuine terror, which is still pretty much par for the course on found fauxtage flicks.
Blair Witch co-writer and co-director Eduardo Sanchez never quite managed to translate the popularity and innovation of the film into his other works – smaller horror films that fell by the wayside. But his latest film, Lovely Molly, could potentially reestablish Sanchez as a horror director to watch. The film’s plot is a basic one – it centers on Hannah Lodge’s Molly, a “troubled” woman with secrets to spare – and some sort of evil lurking inside of her. The film looks to break out some standard horror elements – a creepy house, weird noises, unexplained occurrences – presented by way of a mix of regular cinematic lensing and some found footage/POV shots. That could just work.
The film premiered at last year’s TIFF and it even popped up at SXSW for a few screenings, and though it’s been without the heady buzz of, oh, something like The Blair Witch Project, most reviews hedge to the side of positive. While I didn’t get a chance to see it at SXSW, friends who did seemed to mostly like it, and while that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, many of them found themselves liking it more as they thought on it longer. At the very least, the film presents a nice spin on found footage and, as Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci pointed out in his review, he hopes that “other filmmakers pick up on Sanchez’s mixing of aesthetics, saving us from any future feature length found footage films.” Preach.
Lovely Molly will open in limited release on May 18th.